• Don’t miss Free Fridays

    One of our most popular features is "Free stuff Fridays" when we give away all sorts of garden things from books to seeds to garden gadgets.
    Join the fun every Friday.

  • Grow food not lawns

    As commercial growers pump out more bland, backyard gardeners are getting good at growing their own. Find out about edibles, including chickens here

  • An eye for design

    Plants, rocks and pots are all good. It's how you put them together that counts. Check out our design posts for an eyeful of ideas

 
September 23, 2014

Difficult plant = profitable crop

It turns out that wasabi - a food we’ve probably never actually had - is the most difficult of all crops to grow commercially according to the BBC. So what are we eating with our tuna roll? Horseradish + food coloring.

Those that can figure out how to grow wasabi are pocketing $90 per pound. It doesn’t seem so hard if you’re familiar with hydroponics. The seeds, however, are guarded like the Hope diamond.

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The Mind Unleashed—Scientist say sniffing rosemary can increase memory by 75 percent

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September 19, 2014

Free book Friday!

Here’s a fun one for weekend reading, “How The Government Got in Your Backyard” (Timber Press) by Jeff Gillman and Eric Heberlig. Amy Stewart calls it “Freakonomics for the gardening set” and Gillman is one of our favorite investigative authors, anyway.

Gillman and Heberlig look for the truth in organic foods, pesticides, genetic engineering and invasive plants. Not what we’re usually told, mind you, but they could find out, good or bad, for themselves.

To win this thought-provoking bedside read, share in comments the one plant you regret planting. Think invasive.

Last week’s winner of the RHS how-to set of books…..Laurel Baker. Drop us a line with your mailing address, we’ll get your books on the way.

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September 16, 2014

Trendy chicken

And so it is….the pure black chicken that also lays black eggs. The meat is black, the feathers and beak are black. Called Ayam Cemani, this Indonesian chicken is the new “it” girl in chicken circles.

If you can’t live without them, order your girls here.

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LATimes—Vegetable garden blamed for 1600 acre Silverado Canyon fire.

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September 5, 2014

Get the whole darn set Friday!

This foursome from the Royal Horticultural Society has been adapted for the U.S. Use it for yourself, although a pretty bow makes it a great gift for garden friends. Nicely illustrated, the set includes “Growing Vegetables & Herbs”, “Container Gardening”, “Pruning & Training” and “Garden Problem Solver”.

The pruning book alone is probably my fave. IMHO, any plant is gorge when it’s pruned properly.

To win the set just tell us in comments about the wackiest prune job you ever saw. A winner will be chosen at random, eyes closed, super-pinky promise (even if Billy Goodnick Crimes Against Horticulture plays).

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September 2, 2014

Yikes! Monarchs are disappearing

There is something about bar charts that tell the story like no long explanation can….at a glance you can see to what degree Monarchs have disappeared from their overwintering sites in Mexico.

Monarch Watch is worried. It’s not only pesticide use, but milkweed, or lack thereof. 80% of milkweed habitats have given way to corn crops in the Midwest. Can backyard gardeners make up the difference?

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Buzzfeed—Overhead at the Chelsea Flower Show 2014

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August 28, 2014

Playing favorites

The American Horticultural Society has honored horticultural heroes since 1953 and is looking for your nominations for Great American Gardeners 2015 in 15 categories from landscape design to teaching.

Who is your Garden Hero? Someone who teaches kids to garden? Someone who does horticultural therapy? The owners and staff at your favorite nursery or garden business?

Nominate the people, companies or organizations who exemplify the art, science, environmental and communications aspects of gardening and who make an impact in their efforts, here.

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Independent.co.uk —Under 35s rated gardening among their top five leisure activities

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August 21, 2014

Four ways to help plants survive drought

No doubt that as the drought drags on in the West, plants are suffering, especially if you’re seriously saving water. But don’t splash it around the landscape willy-nilly, use it on the plants that really need it.

Here are four ways to save your landscape during drought:

Established plants more than four years old can live on less water. A slow drip once a month is all trees and established shrubs need to survive.

Mulch like you really mean it. Mulch prevents moisture from evaporating from the soil and keeps root environments cool. Two to three inches works best.

Stop watering your lawn. While it may eventually look dead, it won’t be. Grasses can go dormant during drought and come back again when water is available.

Allocate water to your vegetable garden and fruit trees. Perennials, annuals and fruiting trees need the most moisture. If you’re saving water for something, use it here.

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National Journal—Painting brown lawns green a booming business

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August 20, 2014

Behold the Stumpery

Where a Victorian garden aesthetic called Stumpery meets wood-log permaculture called Hugelkultur. The plants benefit from the nutrients released from decaying logs and the gardener benefits from the design aspects. Plus, those tree cuttings are put to use.

Here’s another example of Hugelkultur illustrated.

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New York Times —Sad but true: firefly populations are dwindling

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